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Direct Action Violence is Morally Justified to Stop Climate Extinction
It’s always been a no no. Until total Climate chaos is upon us its impossible to imagine a majority of people agreeing to the hardship of a fast conversion to a simpler cooperative lifestyle.Not to mention the rich and powerful who imagine surviving in their luxury bunkers and paradise islands..In the ‘rich’ west we are totally dependent on our jobs in the capitalist mashine, with our CO2 spewing cars and plastic gadgets …… of all types.By the time necessity makes us say YES to real measures it will be far too late, with tipping points long passed and the climate dominoes inevitably falling to make Earth uninhabitable by humans for millions of years.Track Blockades and Sabotage Continue in Hambach Forest .In this scenario, which becomes more obvious every year, we can assert a moral justification and even an obligation to take Direct Action which hurts people as little as possible.This has already begun to happen in various court cases where activists have successfully cited the moral necessity of breaking the law for the greater good.Imagine you are on a sinking ship holed by an iceberg. You know about ships and how to seal off the burst hold. But an official commands you to wait on deck.. .. Now you are morally justified in punching the official on the nose if necessary and closing the bulkheads.Greta Thunberg alludes to the same moral imperative with her magnificent call to youth action ..”I WANT YOU TO IMAGINE YOUR HOUSE IS ON FIRE.”We all live in a thin and fragile layer of breathable gas, no thicker than the skin of an apple, relative to the size of the Earth, with just the right mix of gases to make our lives possible and kept in a miraculous balance by the water and vegetation. The only one of trillions of space rocks that we know has life.so.. Direct Action is Justified
The most successful environmental movements have worked with a plethora of loosely affiliated local groups and organisations with similar aims and ideals. This can make them uncontrollable by brute force and limits efforts to buy off, intimidate, infiltrate, etc.
Another necessity is an alternative global media, ability to use the existing social media but with our own backup for when we get cut off.
The capitalist world now depends on offshore riches of the 1%, but the nation states could in theory still close their tax paradises if their lives and careers depended on it.
So one line of attack could be to expose (by Wikileaks or similar) the details of the 1% and repeatedly GO TO THEIR HOUSES AND OFFICES, with pickets, blockades, sabotage, threats and property destruction..
This tactic can work well, for example in Spain after the housing crash, bankers and politicians were forced to cut back on mass evictions.
The successful campaigns against Keystone Pipeline and Hambach Forest Coalmine and Adani spring to mind. The important thing is to avoid monolithic organisations where the ‘cop in your head” always controls and defuses. Sit-Ins and petitions can help and let new people participate. But we are morally justified in direct action sabotage, taking care not to kill anybody, in order to save the planet.
Most of us are stuck in our routines of work and family and can’t see being evolutionary heroes. But there’s lots we can do.. Greta Thunberg comes to mind. First we need to educate ourselves, reading up on the basic info, countering rightwing climate deniers, flooding the social media with factual reports and insights, in order to counter the giant steamroller of media ”normality” that envelops our lives.
So far its mainly young middle class people shouting about the climate emergency. We need a generalised uprising to force a change in the capitalist system. It’s hard to see how this can be done, and done in time.
The yellow vests revolution springs to mind, rejecting a top down capitalist/fascist structure for one in which all views and participants take part. But even that is too limited….
Its like 2 trains about to crash head on, with the drivers constantly urged to speed up, to use up fasterv the dwidluing resources and environmental capital. Growth is king, all the media worship growth. Faster, faster or we face an Economic Crash. Ignoring the plain fact of the Mega Crash of climate chaos.
Infinite use of resources, as assumed and necessary under capitalism is obviously impossible on a stricken and strictly finite planet.
In this context it’s also key to prepare urgently for a simpler and surely a better life when the trains collide head on. Do you agree?
If so one thing we should try to:
Oppose the whole mindset of capitalism and patriarchy.
Move out of the great city trap.
Attack and unmask and morally discredit the system, billionaires, banks corporations and States.
Organise and defend locally without hierarchy or central control.
Look for access to arable land, (most food worldwide is still grown on local plots).
Prefer technology we or our network can build and repair ourselves.
Eat little meat or go vegan.
Use local money, free goods, exchange and barter.
Strive for energy independence.
Organise in work unions without hierarchy or paid officials … etc
About pacifism, which they always exploit to control and defuse environmental movements. We can avoid this by organising locally and autonomously (like for example 350.org) refusing a leadership structure which always sells out. In this way we let genuine pacifists to do their thing, while the majority can practice Direct Action, including morally justified violence, while respecting human and animal life.
Cyclone Idai is not a natural disaster; the storm was made worse by climate change, centuries of colonialism, and continuing international injustices.
There are at least three major ways that the Mozambique floods are related to climate change: First, a warmer atmosphere holds more water vapor, which makes rainfall more intense. Idai produced more than two feet of rainfall in parts of the region — nearly a year’s worth in just a few days. Second, the region had been suffering from a severe drought in recent years in line with climate projections of overall drying in the region, hardening the soil and enhancing runoff. Third, sea levels are about a foot higher than a century ago, which worsens the effect of coastal flooding farther inland.
The number of cyclones and extreme floods in Southern Africa is increasing due to the change in weather patterns caused by global warming. Despite knowing that the impacts of global warming are devastating Africa, fossil fuel companies continue to expand across the continent, treating it as an open field.
A woman sees a child fall down a well, so she climbs a fence onto private property to save the child’s life. In the unlikely event that the woman were charged with criminal trespassing, her attorney would use a choice-of-evils defense, also known as a necessity defense, to get her acquitted.
He would argue that the child faced an immediate physical threat, and that it was necessary for his client to break the law in order to prevent the child from dying. But what if the threat were something less discrete than a well—the air, the water, the very ground beneath our feet?
What if it imperilled every child in a neighborhood, or on the planet? Would the necessity defense still hold?Last week, in a Boston municipal courthouse, thirteen defendants brought that question before Judge Mary Ann Driscoll……
Ending climate change requires the end of capitalism. Have we got the stomach for it?
Policy tweaks won’t do it, we need to throw the kitchen sink at this with a total rethink of our relationship to ownership, work and capital
Climate change activism is increasingly the domain of the young, such as 16-year-old Greta Thunberg, the unlikely face of the school strike for climate movement, which has seen many thousands of children walk out of school to demand that their parents’ generation takes responsibility for leaving them a planet to live on.
In comparison, the existing political establishment looks more and more like an impediment to change. The consequences of global warming have moved from the merely theoretical and predicted to observable reality over the past few years, but this has not been matched by an uptick in urgency. The need to keep the wheels of capitalism well-oiled takes precedence even against a backdrop of fires, floods and hurricanes.
Today’s children, as they become more politically aware, will be much more radical than their parents, simply because there will be no other choice for them. This emergent radicalism is already taking people by surprise.
The Green New Deal (GND), a term presently most associated with 29-year-old US representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, has provoked a wildly unhinged backlash from the “pro free market” wing, who argue that it’s a Trojan horse, nothing more than an attempt to piggyback Marxism onto the back of climate legislation.
The criticism feels ridiculous. Partly because the GND is far from truly radical and already represents a compromise solution, but mainly because the radical economics isn’t a hidden clause, but a headline feature. Climate change is the result of our current economic and industrial system.
GND-style proposals marry sweeping environmental policy changes with broader socialist reforms because the level of disruption required to keep us at a temperature anywhere below “absolutely catastrophic” is fundamentally, on a deep structural level, incompatible with the status quo.
Right now we can, with a massive investment of effort by 2030, just about keep the warming level below 1.5C. This is “bad, but manageable” territory. Failing to put that effort in sees the world crossing more severe temperature barriers that would lead to outcomes like ecosystem collapse, ocean acidification, mass desertification, and coastal cities being flooded into inhabitability.
We will simply have to throw the kitchen sink at this. Policy tweaks such as a carbon tax won’t do it. We need to fundamentally re-evaluate our relationship to ownership, work and capital. The impact of a dramatic reconfiguration of the industrial economy require similarly large changes to the welfare state.
Basic incomes, large-scale public works programmes, everything has to be on the table to ensure that the oncoming system shocks do not leave vast swathes of the global population starving and destitute.
Perhaps even more fundamentally, we cannot continue to treat the welfare system as a tool for disciplining the supposedly idle underclasses. Our system must be reformed with a more humane view of worklessness, poverty and migration than we have now.
Unfortunately for our children, the people they have to convince of all this are the people who have done very well out of this system, and are powerfully incentivised to deny that it is all that bad. Already, Joke Schauvliege, a Belgian environment minister, has been forced to resign after falsely claiming that she had been told by Belgian state security services that “ghosts” behind the scenes were behind demonstrations in Belgium.
This conspiracism of the elite, these claims that genuine mass movement can’t possibly really exist and must be in some way being guided by agents provocateurs, is just one of the ways in which those currently running things have resorted to a kind of political gaslighting in an attempt to maintain their grip on power.
Dianne Feinstein rebuffs young climate activists’ calls for Green New Deal – video
Gaslighting is a term I don’t use lightly, because it describes a genuine form of emotional abuse, where an abuser will deny reality in an attempt to get their victim to literally doubt their own sanity, and this should not be diluted by overuse.
Yet I struggle to think of another word that adequately sums up the way in which “sensible” adults are doubling down on their tactic of manufacturing a political reality which bears no relationship to the world we see around us. It’s the Marxism of Groucho rather than Karl: “Who are you going to believe? The serious political professionals or your own lying eyes?”
US Senator Dianne Feinstein’s meeting with schoolchildren petitioning her to take action over the issue went viral because of the way she condescended to them for, basically, asking her to leave them a planet behind to live on. “I’ve been doing this for 30 years,” she said, “I know what I’m doing.” The obvious response is, of course, that messing something up for 30 years is quite long enough, thanks. Long tenure without results is not the same thing as expertise.
This is a tough and bitter pill to swallow for the political professionals whose feet are firmly under the table. It is increasingly obvious that all their tactics have done almost nothing except run down the clock, but still they insist that it’s the young who just don’t get it and that things aren’t that simple.
They’re the living embodiment of the famous New Yorker cartoon, with a suited man sat in a post-apocalyptic landscape telling his young audience ..see below
Many of today’s climate strikers won’t even be 30 by the time the 1.5C deadline comes around in 2030. They are asking us to consider a simple question: is their future worth more than preserving our reputations? What will our response to them be?
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